LABOUR'S Nick Smith claimed a hat-trick of election victories as his party comfortably held Blaenau Gwent.

Mr Smith came out with a majority of 58 per cent - almost a replica of 2015 - seeing off Plaid Cymru candidate Nigel Copner who finished second with 21 per cent of the vote share.

South Wales Argus:

With Plaid Cymru targeting the seat, some predicted a potential upset, but the Labour candidate ended up a convincing winner.

Mr Smith - who was first elected in 2010 - finished with 18,787 votes, beating Plaid Cymru with 6,880 and Conservative Tracey West with 4,783 votes.

Fourth was Ukip's Dennis May with 973 votes, fifth Independent Vicki Browning and sixth Liberal Democrat Cameron Sullivan.

After being declared the winner, Mr Smith said: "Today the voters of Blaenau Gwent shared my belief that our best hope to get our country moving again is a Labour government.

"Blaenau Gwent needs more jobs, improved transport, proper funding for our frontline services and only a Labour government in Westminster can do that.

"I will continue to stand up for my home borough, to be a strong voice in parliament and to represent the people of these valleys."

Mr Copner congratulated the Labour MP on his victory and called on him to deliver his promises.

Speaking to the Argus, Mr Copner said his team had run a "fantastic campaign", but admitted his party may have to change its message.

"The message that if you vote Plaid you get the Tories in - it is nonsense - but clearly people have been spooked and when they are spooked they go back to what they are used to," he said.

He added: "Across Wales I think Plaid needs to look at the message it's got and see how it can re-adjust that to position ourselves, because if you can't capitalise when Labour are in an extremely bad state then when can you capitalise."

Conservative Tracey West increased her vote from 3,419 in 2015 to 4,783 to maintain third position.

Prior to the results being announced, she said: "It's nice to know people are taking the time to vote, whether that's for me or the party.

"This has been a Labour constituency for so long but I think people are changing."

The result marked a disappointing night for Ukip, who finished in second place in 2015 with 5,677 votes.

But candidate Mr May said he was proud of the campaign the party had fought.

It was also a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats, with candidate Mr Sullivan receiving 295 votes, less than the 620 which the party received in 2015.

Voter turn-out was 63.2 per cent, a slight increase from 61.8 per cent in 2015.